Daniel Carlin Frey started his career in the restaurant industry but later moved to the fitness industry after helping his trainer build his business. Frey has several fitness certifications and is currently working on building a personal training business as well as looking for a fitness center to purchase. For more information, go to: www.trainer4ufitness.com.

There are many issues you might come across when running your daily operations. The best way to decrease the possibility of a member-relations nightmare is by following a few easy steps. These steps will make your members’ experiences better and your staff more focused.

Step 1: Checklists

As an owner/manager, it is critical to decide what the most important features are, not only to management, but also to members. Once the decisions have been made, these items need to be placed into a checklist for management, opening staff and night staff to check.

Your facility is part of what sells your services. If you are inspecting your facility each and every day and making sure to keep it clean and updated, your members will see the benefits. If your members frequently use the locker rooms, then the staff should focus hourly on making sure the lockers are stocked and free of debris. These checklists should be modified and updated at least once a month or when a member brings any issue to management’s attention.

Step 2: Be Available

When you are at work, make sure that as a manager or owner you make yourself seen. If you are there and visible, you have a greater chance that your members will want to approach you with any issues that they might have. This will give you a better chance to correct and advance your club to better meet your members’ expectations. The other benefit of this is that it gives you a chance to see if the club is running to your expectations and standards. The old expression, “When the cats away the mice will play,” is a constant reality. By being visible to your members and your staff, you can limit the possibility of their behavior being inappropriate to the environment you want to create.

Also, your staff will see you being active in the business. When the boss is doing the work with the staff, you get more buy-in, and the staff will do the same when you are not there. This creates a feel of teamwork.

Step 3: Address Issues and Make Them Visible

When an issue that affects your entire club is brought to your attention, make sure that you make it visible to your members. By making your correction of the problem club knowledge, it will show your members that their issues are important and also will help retain them if they have issues in the future.

This is a good policy except when there is an issue with a member or staff member. That should always be handled in private.

Step 4: Hospitality

To some people, just saying hello when they arrive is enough. As an industry, we tend to hire young people to work at our front desk. Ask yourself, who is the first person members and perspective members see when they arrive? Usually, it’s a young person who is either on a cell phone or reading a magazine and barely looks up from it to look at the incoming member. Hospitable front-desk staff makes members more inclined to come in and prospective members more inclined to join. As managers/owners, make sure you walk around your club and say hello to members as you walk through. Get to know the members and be friendly. This will make these members remember that they have someone who knows them and cares that they have chosen your club, especially when it comes time to re-sign a contract.

Step 5: Incentives

Retaining members is very important, but retaining great staff will make or break your business. Make sure that you offer praise when your staff is doing good things inside your business. You should also look to find incentives for your staff. By making this into more of a contest, you can build sales with non-sales members. Hold a contest that rewards the front desk member who received the most leads or most guest compliments given in a month. You can even hold a contest for the most sign-ups for each trainer. These prizes should be fun, and instead of cash, you could give away gift certificates to stores, concert tickets or trips. Look at your staff, and chose what you feel is important to them.